Two Point Hospital Review

Dan Webb

When I was growing up, there was something that always troubled me. No, it wasn’t the war in Iraq or the rise of domestic terrorism – it was how people could pick up a game like Theme Hospital and actually have fun. That’s not to say it wasn’t a good game (because it was) but when did someone suddenly think, “you know what? Designing and maintaining a hospital sounds really fun!” Theme Park, yeah, I get it. Theme parks are fun and cool, especially as a kid, but hospitals... That’s where people go to die, where they go when they’re sick, where a lot of a person’s most tragic memories come from. But here we are 23 years later, and you know what? Somehow, managing a hospital is fun, even though we still have no bloody idea why.

Two Point Hospital is for all intents and purposes the spiritual successor to the classic Bullfrog title, Theme Hospital, with some of the original development team on board to help steer the ship. In it, you’ll manage the running of various hospitals that grow in complexity and tend to throw a few curve balls into the mix as you progress. You’ll start by placing rooms, furnishing them, but as things develop, you’ll branch out into employee training, research and development, managing employee contracts and even overseeing marketing campaigns. It’s your classic hospital strategy sim in all but name. It even has the humorous elements alive and well, from curing people with ‘lightheadedness’ – who have light bulbs for heads – to the more amusing 'animal magnetism', whereby the patients have animals stuck to them.

Players will spend their ‘career’ working across a series of different hospitals, each with their own unique challenges. One might only allow you to start with junior doctors, meaning you need to train up your entire workforce; another might ask you to treat a certain disease, which means focusing on marketing to attract them to your hospital. For the most part, it’s your job as the all-seeing eye to build hospital rooms, see to the layout, make sure patients have access to entertainment, amenities and most importantly, cure them. Obviously. Of course, it’s a little deeper than that – albeit not much – as players will have to manage their finances, keep the staff happy and cope with things like extreme cold temperatures and so on. It’s pretty much what you'd expect from the spiritual successor to Theme Hospital, from the first moment to the very last.

Controls-wise, you can’t really knock Two Point Studios’ attempt in tailoring things to consoles. It’s simple, it’s lightweight, it’s responsive and everything you want to do can be done in a matter of just a few button presses. There’s the odd issue where selecting specific objects in the hospital can be a bit of a pain, but it’s definitely not something that impacts the experience as a whole. It’s actually a really commendable port, one that we can’t really fault from a navigational perspective.

I guess my real criticism, however, would be that after a while, you tend to get into a rhythm of doing the same thing, over and over again. Start new hospital, set up two pharmacies, two GP offices, a reception, staff room, add some vending machines, some toilets, and then incrementally add new, different suites along the way and employ new staff. It gets a little too predictable, in truth. Sure, sometimes annoying game mechanics like earthquakes and electrical storms will be thrown your way, but these always tend to feel a touch cheap rather than really challenging.

That’s not to say that Two Point Hospital isn’t an absolute blast, though, because it really is. It’s satisfying watching a well-oiled machine grow both in size and stature. Unlocking new rooms through research, opening up new wings, having a death-free year – there’s a lot to keep you busy and entertained throughout. And with the game’s effortless charm, you’ll find it hard to put the controller down at times. It’s one of those ‘just one more thing’ kind of games. As previously mentioned, you do tend to do the same stuff from one hospital to the next, again and again. Once you’ve found that ‘formula’ you'll likely, unavoidably fall into a rut.

You could argue this is no different to most strategy games, but Two Point Hospital is a weird one. Is it a strategy game? Well, from a depth perspective, it’s not exactly deep and it’s super easy to manage, but technically it is indeed a strategy game. Two Point Hospital is really more of an experience than a strategy game, though. It's also a game that boasts a typically British sense of humour, with a jovial, whimsical charm and playful nature, from the music to the diseases, it’s hard not to like it. If you’re looking for a challenge, you might not necessarily find it here, however. But if you’re looking for a thoroughly charming ‘Theme’-style game, then look no further. Two Point Hospital is a positively wholesome, enchanting experience, and a cure for the blues.

Two Point Hospital

Two Point Hospital is a most excellent return from the abyss for the ‘hospital simulator’, one that is wholesome, colourful, incredibly creative and a joy to behold. It does tend to get a little repetitive after a while, but up until that point you’re in for a real treat.

Form widget
80%
Audio
80%

The in-game music never seems to tire and Two Point's take on mundane hospital radio never outstays its welcome and certainly entertains.

Visuals
80%

It’s so delightfully colourful and charming. Some great creativity from a weird, fictional illness standpoint as well.

Playability
85%

As far as strategy console ports go, Two Point Studios has done an excellent job here. Sometimes it can be finicky selecting individual items, but other than that, we can’t knock it.

Delivery
75%

Plenty of hospitals on offer to tackle, but after a while you tend to do the same thing over and over again. Still, plenty of content. Plenty of fun!

Achievements
70%

Not a bad list, not a great list either. A bit of creativity is great, but there’s an incredible amount of grinding involved too, which is a bit of a shame.

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